I started on the Adriamycin a week and a bit ago now so thought I would update on how the first week went. For most of it I was feeling very tired, sleepy and spaced out. We don’t know whether it was a combination of the new painkiller regime and the new chemo but it really knocked me for six. The nausea was kept under control by the steroids and antinausea pills but I do need to carry stuff in my handbag all the time to keep the meds topped up. It has been quite an appetite suppressant as well, my taste buds have started to revolt and I am having to make myself eat at times. (ah well – I’m classed as overweight so it won’t hurt to lose a few kilos) I had a bit of a weird reaction in that I was actually most nauseous on the Tuesday – 5 days after chemo and also went a bit cold and clammy – so we are wondering whether that was unrelated to chemo. I was feeling like a box of birds on Wednesday though. I have to get blood tests every Wednesday before chemo on Thursdays and I am starting to get to recognise if my white blood count is low from my problems when I was on Taxotere and Vinorelbene. I knew by the way I was feeling on Wednesday that my neutrophil count should be in the normal range and it was.
As the chemo toxicity levels build up over the next few weeks I am going to have to keep an eye on my blood counts though.
I must admit with feeling so spaced out I started to cut back on the dose of the painkillers. Even though they are the smallest dose I have a bit of a psychological block to being on morphine. I don’t want to admit that’s where I am at. Combined with that is the knowledge that within a couple of weeks I am going to noticeably look like a cancer patient again (losing my hair) and the fact that when the Cancer Society Liaison Nurse visited and checked up on me on Monday, she brought up the subject of Hospice. It is not that I need it right now but she thinks it would be a good idea for me to meet with them and find out what they offer so if I decide I do need their services further down the track some of the groundwork will already be done. All of this was making me look very squarely down the barrel of something I don’t like contemplating too much day-to-day, and it did get me down.
MD took me to Chemo on Thursday and when I was talking to KS, my assigned oncology nurse specialist at the hospital, (she’s not the chemo nurse – she just checks up on me and she’s the person that helps the doctors co-ordinate my care) they both told me off for trying to be a martyr to the pain, KS said that if I keep taking the painkillers regularly my body will adapt to them better. So I’ve been doing that since Thursday and haven’t had the same reaction as last week. Thank goodness!!